Maison Hermes

January 13, 2010

Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Tokyo

  • Renzo Piano erects a monumental tower of light with severe, static forms covered by a shell of glass, transformed by the light filtering through its narrow chequerboard of translucent plates
  • Blocks are mounted in a steel grid that allows them to move up to 4 mm during earthquaks
  • 13,000 custom glass blocks, measuring 42.8 x 42.8 cm (supposedly based on a sub-multiple of a Hermes scarf), are smooth on one side and undulated on the outer side
  • Exterior surfaces were mirror-varnished by hand; the interior surfaces are textured
  • Meets Japan’s stringent seismic codes: The structure of the building consists of a flexible steel structure, strategically articulated with visco-elastic dampers, from which cantilevered floors span to support the suspended glass facade